En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 16, 2007

From: evanston, IL
Region: Midwest
Topic: Grasses or Grass-like
Title: Growing native grasses in containeers in Illinois
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi. How well would native grasses grow in container gardens in Illinois? What soil would you suggest? Thanks.

ANSWER:

Native grasses should work just fine in a container garden. One note of caution; plants in containers are far more susceptible to freeze damage than those in the ground. If you plan to overwinter your grasses in containers they will likely need some protection during hard freezes.

Two parts good garden soil mixed with one part commercial potting media makes a good container mix. Garden soil alone is usually too heavy and drains too slowly to make a good container soil. On the other hand, peat moss and perlite mixes alone tend to dry out too quickly as they don't hold water well enough. A balanced mix will usually work well for two to three years before needing to be replaced.

Here are some attractive grasses native to Illinois:

Andropogon glomeratus (bushy bluestem)

Andropogon virginicus (broomsedge bluestem)

Aristida purpurea (purple threeawn)

Bothriochloa laguroides ssp. torreyana (silver beardgrass)

Bromus kalmii (arctic brome)

Chasmanthium latifolium (Indian woodoats)

Elymus canadensis (Canada wildrye)

Elymus virginicus (Virginia wildrye)

Koeleria macrantha (prairie Junegrass)

Muhlenbergia capillaris (hairawn muhly)

Paspalum floridanum (Florida paspalum)

Schizachyrium scoparium (little bluestem)

 

More Grasses or Grass-like Questions

Planting of Habiturf from Smithville TX
March 25, 2012 - Are Habiturf and Thunderturf the same? and, how late in the year can I plant Habiturf?
view the full question and answer

Fast-growing ground cover for creekside
May 18, 2014 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Austin Texas and am looking for an aggressively spreading ground cover or grass to plant along a small creek on the back of my property in order to help with soil er...
view the full question and answer

Wildlife garden for Austin
May 19, 2013 - I am trying to make my backyard more wildlife friendly. I have pecan trees for the canopy and some understory shrub/trees like rough leaf dogwood and redbud. I am having a really hard time finding sui...
view the full question and answer

Native Grass is Falling Over
November 09, 2011 - Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I've tried to find this answer but am stumped as to the cause. We live in Fredericksburg, TX and have several different tall grasses, Yellow Indian grass, Little Bluestem, wire...
view the full question and answer

Native plants that are dog-proof in South Texas
July 13, 2008 - I live in Odem, Texas and would like to use only native plants in my front and backyard. I have two puppies who love to dig. What plants should I use that require minimal attention from me and will no...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center